If all options were exhausted in the attempt to stop the Iranian nuclear project, and US military involvement was needed for a successful strike on Tehran, US President George Bush would give the green light for the operation, former director of the US Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, Richard Perle, told the Herzliya Conference on Sunday evening.
"The worst outcome is a failed military option," Perle said. Discussing a possible US involvement in a strike on Iran, he added: "Would this president do it? I think that until the day he leaves office, this is a president that, if he is told, 'Mr. President, you are at the point of no return,' I have very little doubt that this president would order the necessary military action."
Perle began his speech by saying it wasn't clear whether "it's our time or Iran's that is over."
He said the "current policy… will not by itself lead the Iranians to abandon their nuclear weapons program. If we continue to do what we are doing, Iran will become a nuclear weapons state."
"Iran with nuclear weapons will not be so easily deterred and contained as we sometimes think, as we have become accustomed to deterrence in the Cold War," Perle said, adding: "When deterrence fails, it fails not gently, but catastrophically."
Nuclear grievous damage
Perle hypothesized a nightmare scenario, saying: "In possession of nuclear weapons, or even in possession of nuclear material, Iran is perfectly capable of using its terrorist networks to enable others to inflict grievous damage."
"At some point, those of us who believe that the current policy will not lead to an abandonment of nuclear weapons (by Iran)… have to begin to face the question of when is the point of no return," Perle added.
Perle expressed astonishment at the lack of support granted by the West to Iranian opposition movements who wish to overthrow the regime of the Ayatollahs.
"I'm not convinced that we have a lot of time. Given the peril that would result, its astonishing to me that we do not now have a serious political strategy with Iran," he said, adding he thought regime change is "the only significant effective way" to deal with the Iranian threat.
"If we continue on our current course, we have only a military option. So what I'm urging, and this should have happened a very long time ago, is that we make a serious effort to work with the internal (Iranian) opposition," Perle said.